Second Chances…

We make it to 12 weeks and beyond and I become acutely aware of our loss yet again (not that a single day go by when I don’t think of her).
Having my parents here help me feel better and we invite the in-laws over for cheesecake and champagne, finally feeling safe enough to tell them the good news (their 20th grandchild!!)

I am grateful- of course I am but it also feels confusing and somehow surreal (despite having been through multiple pregnancies including two losses).
It’s like the constant state of illness makes it extra hard to feel joy and the joy I (we) have is still overshadowed by doubt and fear. It’s almost like I’m ashamed of this fourth pregnancy- like it’s too much somehow, that I don’t deserve it- that something WILL go wrong…

I never felt as ill as I do this summer. It rubs away memories, sunny pool days, playdates and quality time with my kids- it really does and I’m sad about that. Every day is a battle – and listen I know I’m not sick (thinking about moms with chronic illnesses and unthinkable terminal diseases I should really count my blessings)
I feel like a spoiled brat or just like a very ungrateful human being. Maybe I should just embrace this constant nausea, belly aches and pains, heartburn, fatigue and general feeling of yuck! I do try- thinking about not feeling ill in my previous pregnancy, prior to our loss-and how wrong that went. That this little boy might be trying to remind me that he is still in there-thriving! But come on-it’s so difficult-is it possible to hint in a more subtle way?
My mom and I joke that “someone up there” might be telling me something. Like God is giving me this last pregnancy but making certain it IS my very last one!!

My one and a half year old and his daddy are getting closer during the fall, this is exactly what happened when my oldest son was his little brother’s age. But this time I feel like the little one knows something is up-and it’s almost like he is punishing me for it. He is pushing me away both physically (hard) and emotionally (harder). He cries for his daddy when he is gone, talks about him (dada dada dada) all day, and they are inseparable when they are together (giving his big brother some competition for dad’s attention that he is not used to). With our daughter, I would describe her as unpredictable and up and down in her parental favoritism! I told my husband that he now has both boys, loyal to him like puppies and I have no one. He suggests darling daughter but agrees that her gifts of attention are like rare gems (and therefore very precious and extremely special). “If our boys are loyal dogs, our daughter is more like a cat” he exclaims!

The holidays are coming up and my pregnancy progresses very slowly it seems. My nausea goes beyond the typical 12-14 weeks like it never has before and I find myself complaining at every doctors’ appointment. I hate doing that (and I still keep it on the down low because of course there is little they can do about it AND I’m not a complainer by nature). The “real” nausea meds help once I’m off of the B6 and B12 (did nothing for me) and the sleep medicine I could never take (because hello drowsiness and driving kids around- eh NO!!!).

Our oldest has started first grade (I can’t believe how old he is getting) and upon seeing the mommies at school again I feel so huge, I feel like they can guess my “condition”. Nobody does but I feel like I’m at least ten weeks further along than I really am (of course I’m not and we are well aware of the exact date of conception).

As our daughter’s due date (the daughter we will never have) approaches frighteningly fast- I’m not ready for those depressing feelings to wash over me yet again. I’m definitely not ready for pumpkin patches and costumes. I remember thinking that I would “cheat” my kids out of Halloween this year by having a newborn and not have time for all the celebrations around the holiday. This makes me of course feel double the guilt since I’m without a baby but STILL don’t feel up to celebrations, organizing, planning and “doing it all” for my kids. I sure still try in a fog of sickness and sadness.

My arthritis is acting up again, I’m suffering of pelvic pain, I pee constantly, I can’t sleep, I still throw up most mornings and some afternoons and heavy, spicy and fat foods give me crazy heartburn (isn’t one of the benefits of being pregnant that you can EAT said things…??). Despite having to watch what I eat, I gain like an overweight hippo with unlimited food supply…

We survive Halloween- way beyond telling everyone the reason for my giant frame and people probably think my due date is around the corner. Telling them “February” seems like a joke!

Around the corner are the rest of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving and especially Christmas!! My only light at the end of the tunnel is that we are spending Christmas in Sweden with my family!
I cannot wait (we have planned this forever, it’s my family’s year and even if I’m not looking forward to the extremely long flights-I am looking forwards to my mom’s food and care and to just being “home”).
My doctor’s are on board so far and just knowing I will land surrounded by Christmas and love and that once we get back we can really start focusing on our forth baby coming-I feel good! I feel great! I can do this people! I can do this!!!

After rain comes sunshine!!!

After the appointment, I am completely drained. Driving home after an entire day at the hospital with our young daughter yet again in a bed hooked up to IVs, is like a fog. The baby boy sure hated the experience as well. But with no childcare available I had to bring him. What an absolutely exhausting experience. Entering the freeway I’m pretty sure I hit an innocent squirrel- just pile it on right (I really really hope I didn’t but am afraid I did).

This whole winter/early spring has really not been the best, as far as springs go. I have had better starts of years…
I know I’m an incredible lucky and blessed person so I try to look at the positives, and look forward. I really am!

My brother comes to visit in late spring with his family and his brand new baby boy (first time auntie over here holla!!!) and makes it to my littlest’s first Birthday party. We have a ton of fun, I haven’t seen my brother in so long and to see him as a dad is truly special. I have a busy schedule during the weekdays with my kids but we manage to meet up with my brother and sister in law for dinner everyday. We also grab the occasional coffe or lunch and make a couple impromptu shopping trips. We cook together, drink wine on the patio, share stories, splash in the pool and enjoy the kids-the sweetest little cousins!

Since my three kids all have birthdays in a row-the spring pretty much disappeared in some semi-chaotic (but totally fun) party planning and execution!

Our baby boy gets a big jungle celebration (just like his brother did when he turned one) with jungle music, decorations, cakes, cupcakes and fun gift bags! We have a bouncy castle, yummy sandwiches and tons of snacks…and bubbles…plenty of bubbles. Our baby loves himself some bubbles after all (second to food only). I can’t believe he is one, how did this happen? Stop robbing me of precious baby time already (why do the years get shorter not only the older you get but apparently the more kiddos you have?).

Our princess just wanted her birthday with family, a low key day playing with her new toys (first barbie and first lipgloss-did I mention the years are rolling by way too rapidly) and then dinner, ice cream and balloon animals (flower) at her favorite restaurant. Only three years ago, I was terrified that she would be okay and just look at her now! A smarter, more charismatic, pretty, little decisive three-nager you may never see!! The following day is a Minnie Mouse theme day, spent with grandparents and a BBQ and princess cake very fitting for our very special sassy girl!

Our big boy is turning 6 (did I mentioned somebody messed with the time..turning the dial onto rapid…I know I did and I know it’s cliche BUT how IS he six?). He has requested a “creepy crawler” party and the NAT (Natural History) museum gets to host us and 12 of his classmates plus six other friends and a handful of siblings. All these kinder kids were so great for about 30 of the 45 minutes planned lecture about lizards and snakes but then they decided (apparently telepathically) to hit the dessert table, run into the projector screen, and draw on the white board-all at the same time. No worries though, after a dessert break (having dessert before sandwiches) we got to pet some live (gasp) animals, play some games (competed crawling in snakeskin anyone!?). Then we sang for and had cake/s with the lucky six year old. Excitedly he told us after the party that he made “a new awesome best friend”. Thinking it was a classmate we asked him whom this might be as he proudly announced that it was the museum employee that had helped with the party!

Summer is fast approaching (what happened to spring? But as I said the winter months leading up to spring were arguably sucky…I will share but am just not quite there yet…) so moving on feels now kinda great!

We have some graduations coming up after all our birthdays! And then our summer can officially start!!

Today I did get some (much deserved I might add after the week I had) “mommy me time” and what do I do, I enter the torture chamber known as the nail salon

So I have a confession to make, and before you say anything, please hear me out. I know it’s “the housewife (and working women too by all means) go-to” for “me-time”, relaxation and some “quick beauty fixes”. I know it’s supposed to be soothing and like a “mini-spa” experience (we know how well I do with those) but I don’t actually enjoy getting my nails done- like at all…never have (bordering hate to be quite frank with you). Admit you were thinking nips and tucks here or at least Botox…

Why do you then even go to a nail salon you might ask. Well, it’s almost like you forget from time to time. “Everybody” seems to be doing “mani pedis” nowadays even three year olds and men (yes, men-nothing wrong with that). Before you ask, “no I don’t get my nails done (did) because everyone is doing it” (even if that certainly has some part in it; how come everyone seems to enjoy it so?)
I also quite like the end result which is of course a big part of why I go (and keep coming back, “beauty is pain” and all of that).

Years ago I went because I was “a professional” and needed my nails to follow (pretend) that image. I had long fake nails, nicely shaped with a French manicure. I loved it because as long as we are being honest here, I had a big “biting”  issue when I was younger that left my nails fragile and brittle (and they will now pretty much break if you look at them). To have long, strong, pretty nails made me feel womanly and older and wiser somehow! And I do think it helped the “professions image” and the dating game (what guy wants boyish fingernails on the woman they are trying to romance…?)

The torture it takes to get pretty nails, eh well…

Let’s also take into consideration the extremely bad experiences I have had at nail salons. For examples, this one time when my friend got vouchers to go to some shady place in a bad part of town. We were young, (I’m not saying dumb but definitely not the smartest when it comes to staying out of “danger”… I’m not saying the nail place was dangerous except maybe for our health and our poor nails…but there were times…) and close to broke so we decided to use the huge mani pedi discount. Let’s just say there was blood involved and nobody made it to the “pedi”.

Anyways after having kids, the fancy “fake nail” had to go. Reluctantly at first, I tried a few times after my son’s first birthday (before then? I don’t care who you are, if you don’t have other people taking care of your little one(s) 24/7; bad idea…you need an example of why? Really? Fine, even though I have plenty, I’ll give you a good one; changing diapers…, enough said). I gave that up pretty fast but switched to the hype of gel manis for a while (my nails ended up cracked and even more brittle) and am now back to simple manicures and pedicures (those are even worse).

Let me tell you about pedicures since manicures have gotten significantly better since the whole switching to nails salons in “respectable areas” and the no more acrylic thing (and I am no wuss, I have given birth before…). Ah, the relaxing pedi! NOT

My feet are sensitive (I don’t know if they are more sensitive than other’s people’s feet or not…) and I don’t like other people touching them. Nothing weird like a phobia or anything but the nail ladies (or men) are so rough, why do they have to be so rough. Is it part of their schooling? Is it really necessary for great results (hmm, maybe…)

My sister hates when people touch her feet yet she enjoys a good (and long…read through an entire three hour movie) foot massages (or as she calls it “tickle sessions) by family members and I guess now her boyfriend has qualified (we are the lucky few). So why the foot rubs if she hates her feet being touched you ask? Your guess is as good as mine, my  friend! So, anyways, its nothing like that for me. I guess I should have worded it differently. I’m fine with people touching my feet (not complete weirdoes but you know…professionals…eh, nail professionals…certified beauticians) if they are GENTLE.

The manic filing drives me nuts, I can literally not keep from moving around in agony and am closing to screaming STOP!!! every single time, and yet I start EACH and EVERY appointment by telling them about my very (read extremely for emphasis) sensitive feet. Maybe they don’t understand me, maybe its the language barrier? But I’m pretty sure they do.

There is another thing that makes me so uncomfortable and my experience with nail salons…not a great one. The communication between me and the nail professionals (I’m sure they might like a different title? but I’m not sure which one). The communication…or the lack thereof. I understand not speaking the language, I understand language barriers, accents and not being understood. TRUST YOU ME!!!

It is not that, its the constant whispering in a different language, and that’s fine but the giggling, the whispering and the giggling together makes it impossible for me not to think they are talking about me. They look at me, look away and giggle. This is true and I’m not trying to stereotype here, be insensitive a jerk or paranoid…every single nail place that I have ever been to, I’ve had the same experience.

So that alone is fine, it is the pairing of the constant curiosity of guessing what they are talking about, what is so funny or if I have poop on my forehead or left over baby food (or worse milk) on my chest or something? With the roughness of the “relaxing spa treatments”. The cutting of the skin around the nails (what is that about?), the filing my heels raw, the stinging of that clear liquid, the brutal massage chair (I’m sorry, but that thing hurts-I always have to muster up the courage to tell them to turn it off “yes, I’m sure, completely off…sorry”…usually somewhere in the middle of the appointment after enduring some tough punches to my back for over half an hour), the water that is too hot and the time that moves painfully slow.

My mom loves nail salons and begs me to take her ever time she is here, so see there, its defiantly not a Swedish “thing”.

When I tell people, I’m going to do my nails I get responses like “lucky you”, “enjoy yourself”, and “if only I had the time…(for that luxury)” and from some slightly nicer friends “you deserve it”. But do I? Deserve it I mean? I don’t think so, is it even worth it? Doubtful…

Sure, I like how my feet and finger nails turn out, how clean and smooth they feel and how manageable they get (for about 5 minutes until someone poops, pukes or pretends mommy is a horse…trust me on that one).

Today I did get some (much deserved I might add after the week I had) “mommy me time” and what do I do? I enter the torture chamber known as the nail salon…it isn’t all that bad, they are true professionals after all, how do they learn how to do all that stuff? And you know what? My toenails and fingernails have never looked better!!!

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